Just like English, even German pronouns are the building blocks of a sentence. Pronouns are called as Pronomen in German. They are a little more complicated than English pronouns.
Firstly, there is no different word for formal “you” in English. Whereas in German, there are 2 different words. Informal “you” is du and formal “you” is Sie (always capitalized). Secondly, there are different German pronouns for accusative and dative case. English pronouns remain the same for both the cases.
No need to worry though! We have it all covered for you in this lesson. Just memorize the tables below and you are good to go!
What is a Pronoun?
A pronoun is a word which is used instead of a noun. The logic is simple- it does not seem appropriate to use the same particular noun repeatedly. Pronouns help to make the flow of a sentence better. For example, Peter bought a new house and he loves it. In this sentence, he refers to Peter and it refers to the new house.
Some common English pronouns are he, she, I, you, me, it, we, they, myself, yourself etc. Apart from gender and number, they also change depending on the case. For example, I gave him the book. Here, he changes to him, which is the indirect object.
Similarly, German pronouns also change according to gender, person, number (singular or plural) and case (Nominative, Accusative, Dative or Genitive). Different types of German pronouns are as follows:-
- Personal pronouns
- Possessive pronouns
- Reflexive pronouns
Now let’s learn these 3 types of German Pronouns in every form.
German Personal Pronouns
We use personal pronouns to replace nouns. A noun can be a specific person, place or thing. These pronouns are used when we want to talk about the previously mentioned nouns. They are also used to talk about ourselves as well as address people.
Study the table below to learn more about personal pronouns:-
|3rd person||er, sie, es||ihn, sie, es||ihm, ihr, ihm|
|3rd person||sie, Sie||sie, Sie||ihnen, Ihnen|
- Ich lese ein Buch. Es ist interessant. (I am reading a book. It is interesting.)
- Peter geht mit ihr ins Theater. (Peter is going to the theater with her.)
- Wie geht es dir heute? (How are you today?)
The genitive forms of personal pronouns are never used. They have been replaced by ‘possessive pronouns’.
German Possessive Pronouns
Possessive pronouns are used when we want to indicate that something belongs to someone. In short, these pronouns indicate possession. They are as follows:-
- ich – mein (my)
- du – dein (your)
- er – sein (his)
- sie – ihr (her)
- es – sein (its)
- wir – unser (our)
- ihr – euer (your)
- sie – ihr (their)
- Sie – Ihr (your)
Possessive pronouns usually come before nouns. Hence, they are also known as possessive articles. Similar to the normal articles, even these pronouns take different endings depending on the gender, number and case. For example, let’s take the pronoun dein. Its declension is as follows:-
|Dativ||deinem||deiner||deinem||deinen + n|
- Das ist mein Kuli. (That is my pen.)
- Er ist der Sohn meines Freundes. (He is my friend’s son.)
- Er hat seine Flasche vergessen. (He forgot his bottle.)
German Reflexive Pronouns
There are many verbs in German language which are used together with reflexive pronouns. These pronouns refer back to the subject of the sentence. When the subject and object of a sentence are the same, reflexive pronouns take the accusative case. However, they take the dative case if there is an accusative direct object in the sentence.
Study the table below to learn more about reflexive pronouns:-
|er, sie, es||sich||sich||himself, herself, itself|
- Er duscht sich. (He is taking a shower.)
- Ich ziehe mir ein Hemd an. (I put a shirt on.)
- Du verletzt dich. (You hurt yourself.)
Do you want to practice what you learned in this lesson? Click here and take the quiz to test your knowledge of German Pronouns.
If you enjoyed learning this lesson, also check out the topic German Verbs on your favorite blog “All About Deutsch”.
Want to learn more about different types of German Pronouns? Go through this chapter on FluentU.
PS – On this blog, you will find grammar lessons just like this one, vocabulary lists divided subject-wise as well as articles related to countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland and a lot more. Keep scrolling, keep learning!